Safely driving through a parking lot requires keen attention and caution. The common misconception about parking lots is that they are safer than major roadways. Parking lots are often far more congested with both drivers and pedestrians than major roadways, however.
With so many distractions and so many drivers and pedestrians coming and going, traffic collisions are very likely in parking lots. They can also be more severe than you think. With the loosening of the COVID-19 restrictions, many retail stores have been opening their doors. With the holidays coming up, grocery and retail stores will become especially busy.
The Law Offices of Joe Bornstein discusses the most common crash risks in busy parking lots, as well as actions you can take if you're hit by a negligent or reckless driver.
What causes parking lot collisions?
Distracted driving, speeding, and reckless driving are the leading causes of parking lot collisions. According to an opinion poll conducted by the National Safety Council, 66 percent of participants admitted that they would use a cellphone to make a phone call while driving through a parking lot. In addition:
- 63% said they would program GPS navigation
- 56% said they would send or receive text messages
- 52% said they would use social media
- 50% said they would send or receive emails
- 49% said they would take pictures or watch videos
That's only one survey. Imagine how many drivers actually use cellphones or engage in other distractions while driving through busy parking lots. Also imagine how many impatient drivers zip through parking lots at dangerous speeds.
What are the most common parking lot collisions?
The most common types of collisions that occur in parking lots include:
- Rear-end collisions. Rear-end collisions are very common in parking lots. They tend to happen when drivers stop at stop signs or to allow pedestrians to cross. Whiplash is the most common injury sustained in rear-end collisions. This occurs when a car occupant's head whips back and forth rapidly and damages the soft tissue in the neck.
- Side-impact crashes. These crashes often happen when a driver backs out of a parking spot without watching for oncoming cars or pulls out into oncoming traffic. Side-impact crashes can also be caused by speeding. This happens when the driver who pulled out had the right-of-way and the other driver was traveling too fast.
- Pedestrian accidents. Pedestrians are the most vulnerable to being injured in parking lots. It doesn't take much to cause broken bones, traumatic brain injury, spinal injuries, soft tissue injuries or damage to internal organs.
What should I do if I'm hit in a parking lot?
Parking lot collisions can happen unexpectedly. The first thing you should do is take a moment to assess the situation and regain your composure. Be sure to trade insurance information with the driver who hit you, call 911 and wait for the police to arrive.
While you're waiting for the police, take a moment to survey the crash scene. Take pictures and notes. Are there any nearby surveillance cameras that may have captured the incident? Also be sure to take down the names and contact information of witnesses who stopped to help.
You should also seek medical attention, even if you feel perfectly fine. Injuries often don't start producing symptoms until days later. The sooner you get checked out by a doctor, the better. Documentation of your medical evaluation and early treatment can only benefit you.
Lastly, speak to an experienced Maine car accident attorney at the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein. Our legal team can gather the facts needed to help you build a solid claim, including getting a copy of your accident report. We'll also work tirelessly to help you recover every dollar you deserve in compensation.
Our attorneys have built a reputation for helping maximize our clients' compensation and our case results prove it. One of our clients received a $500,000 settlement after being hit by a driver who failed to stop at a stop sign in a parking lot. Our client sustained an elbow injury that required surgery and accrued $65,000 in medical bills. In addition, our client was unable to work and was able to receive workers' compensation benefits.
To schedule a free case evaluation with our legal team, contact us online.